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University is Talking To Me

Dear Eva,


I am very pleased to inform you that in Summer School 2008 you attained one of the top results in Issues in Human Resources Management (467945/95) at the AUT. You are one of the Business School’s high achieving students.

Congratulations on your academic success. This reflects the effort ad commitment you have made in your studies.

I wish you every success in your future studies.

Yours sincerely

Prof Des Graydon
Dean, Business School
Pro Vice Chancellor International.

****

Well-well-well, it does not surprise me. When I just started in 2003, I had two jobs, a half dozen eligible bachelors to go out with every night of the week and a very busy schedule to stick to. Now, being a suburban housewife with no hobbies, I have nothing better to do than to excel academically. Sad I run out of steam too quickly, I could bear the next star of shining knowledge in the whole of Business School.

The Foolosophy Of Marriage

Was it Nietzsche who said that marriage is a hindrance and a calamity on the path to the optimum?
Lucky boy - he believed he was on the path to optimum - let alone he believed in the optimum itself. I wish I could be that optimistic.
I do believe in marriage however. I believe that big white weddings are fun and, if you are lucky enough to organise it, provide many sweet photographs. Besides, one cannot have too many rings on their fingers.
In the movie Love in the Times of Cholera the husband says to the wife that the most important thing about life is not love but laughter. Well, apart from the fact that the movie was endless and I lost all hope about the main characters getting together in the next few hours, I actually liked it. I did not see myself in it - oh, no; but I kind of liked the notion.
One way or another, at times I imagine a giant clock up the wall-papered wall, a huge hand slowly moving across the face and measuring up the hours of my marriage, with an occasional cuckoo tinker. I do not believe in eternal recurrence, not did I like Groundhog Day, yet there is something very reassuring about being married. But this is a totally, totally different story.

System Announcement

I am very sorry to have disappeared for so long and so suddenly, yet I am back.

Happy New Year, everybody! I wish you a very cordial and prosperous 2009.

I will catch up on your lives, one at a time, more likely, and boy did I miss you.

I am very grateful to those who are still here. I look forward to spending time with you.

Yours truly,

Eugenia.

Elections Here, Electons There.

Have you already heard than nowadays they say BB (which is Before Barack) and AB (after Barack) about our times? God, these people are fanatical.
You know, I kept all of Wednesday free (not that I usually have busy Wednesdays, but nevertheless) so I could watch Obama win. Well, technically speaking I was going to watch the results regardless, but I was happy to watch Obama being elected. I can't say I was teary like some people, but it was fairy emotional.

However, in all honesty, I don't think this is the election to win. I bet Hillary is jumping with joy now she won't have to lead the country through the ashes and blood of this crisis. I think that however is up there, in the captain's pit, is going to face some hard times. Therefore I kind of feel for Obama, with all the hopes up for him and all the people rooting - he will need it.

And yes, McCain is a great guy, yet there are jobs where you need to be young and energetic, and being President is on the top of that list. The mess he got himself into with that silly woman might have cost him the role, and I suspect he is smart enough to have realised that. I like Obama, I like his fresh blood, I like his African roots and Muslim middle names - I hope it will help him in the Middle East and across the world to make some peace.

As for the tomorrow's elections' in New Zealand.. I am going to vote for the first time here, and boy, am I excited! I deeply respect Helen Clark and I do not care whether she gets photoshopped for billboards profusely, or whether she really lived with that woman, or else. I would love to see her elected again, yet I realise that these are the hardest times, and not only she and her party will be in the fire, she will always be to blame for all the lows and downs. So I wish her luck - but I doubt women like her, with no plan B, need luck.

Anyway, the saddest thing about the American elections is that Cindy McCain is history now. I kind of grown to like her pedigree face - I wish I looked like that when I am 70. But this is a story with no comebacks, so farewell to those all.




What A Woman Needs

As previously stated, a woman needs a hat. With the hat come the bread and the circusses, the nobility and the beauty. In all honesty, I don’t even think it necessarily has to be hat; it could be anything which makes you feel good. All those Guerlain meteorites thingies are equivalent to a hat, if not better. At the end of the day, a woman must stay practical.

A woman needs to live in a place where they treasure decent infrastructure and great flat expensive roads. Roads are very important, they allow you to wear high heels and feel fabulous; they make you remember what is to strut it and how to flaunt it.

A woman also needs a car, and it does not matter much whether it’s a high-powered European or a tiny Jap shag mobil; she needs a car to drive around aimlessly while listening to some great songs which may remind her of the great days of the past or set her off for the future. She can drive fast (on those good roads), she can smoke out of the window as they did in those black-n-white movies, she can cry over the lost ones and you she cruise with friends and laugh about the trivial insignificance of everything.

A woman also needs a laptop (not neseccarily Apple, but ask me again next year), to stay connected with the world, to stay afloat of this digital world and to create every time she feels like creating.

A woman needs good hair and nails - they simply must be good so she won’t have to be distracted from the more important business.

There also better be somebody small around - be it a kitten or a child. Somebody to hug, somebody to pet, to feed and to provide for; to watch it sleep and to watch it grow.

Ironically, a woman needs a man - to love and to be loved, to own and to belong. To reach out and run the fingers around his strong back.

A woman also needs at least one girl friend, and it does not have to be a constructive friendship. A girlfriend who can talk about anything and who tolerates everything, even if it is a daily wailing over the same man, again and again. A girlfriend to get drunk with when you need it most, even if it is way too ofter - as long as helps recover.

But if she wants constructive, she might need a shrink - to search for childhood troubles, to analyse the same episodes for the umpteen time, to build bridges from the past to the present. If you don’t feel you need a shrink - you may need a fortuneteller - to orientate for the better future and to give some hope when everything else fails.

There are so many things that a woman needs! God be blessed for making me a woman, as I am a perfect marketeers’ target and I am proud of it. I take all that finest bedlinen which a woman must have (a third of your life is spent, just think of it!). I take the long old-fashioned sleeping gowns to feel like a virgin princess.  I take the huge black every day bag to conceal whatever I am up to. I take those sexy gadgets which help me stay connected to the generation of the young and funky, and no, I don’t need to really need them. I take the daring nailpolish colour, even if it is as infrequent as my actual birthday.  I take hundreds of tiny bottles which promise me a longer clinging to my youthful appearance and feel capricious in the mornings, when choosing a body wash smell.

But if there was one thing I could really have - or keep, in my case - in exchange for everything else I could possibly lay my hands on - I would pick the opportunity to keep my beautiful legs which must never age. I want to be able to look at them and think - oh yeah baby, beat that. I am that woman with the most beautiful legs in the world.

Tiny Baubles

I wish I had more opportunities to wear hats in my life. (I could stop here, but because I am not a mini-blogger, and this is not plurk, I will go on and on). So bear.

I wish there were opportunities to wear hats in my life. When a woman buys a hat (even if it is one hat, the most modest one!), her life changes completely. It’s all downhill from there - unless you buy a new hat, as every hat may only be worn once.

A hat, first and foremost, means that you have somewhere to wear it. It means you have friends who invite you to the events which matter to them, be it a wedding, a Luncheon or a garden party. It means that you are demanded socially (which we all should be, no matter what).

A hat means that you have enough money to spend it on silly, unnecessary accessories. It might or might not means gloves, a long cigar holder and a  dress to die for, but it means a woman is not starving and has certainly enough fat on her baby cheeks.

A hat means you are pretty, as it makes you even prettier. I haven’t met anybody who looked bad in a hat (I know my English friends might think of Queen Camilla, yet I like her in a way you like Victoria Beckham - in an amusing sort of way).  It also means nice, sleek, elegant hair - when no day is a bad hair day, when even  in the sun you look like a million dollars and this is how it should be - a million dollars daily.

A hat comes with bubbles, and what I used to call “champagne attitude”, when I young and  carefree. It is more of a state of mind, when you hold a flute ever so slightly arrogantly yet approachable at the same time; so those who dare may reach out. It means la dolce vita daily, and I wish it was possible.

A hat, furthermore, does not mean the following: revolutions, money and/or food shortages, corporate wars, non-traditional medicine, lack of vision and other insecurities, as well as miscellaneous bizarre situations which must never happen to a decent woman.

God bless the milliners and their lucky recipients. And god, do send me more hat opportunities - as with hats come everything I could wish for.

I have updated the about page on eugenia.co.nz, as well as there is a portrait there now. Come have a look.

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Talking to Strangers

To me, one of the signs of being mature is the ability to talk to strangers. I mean small talk talk going on big. When you can start a conversation - and carry it through - and have a wonderful time - and then farewell and never see each other again. And then, if you had a good time together, you take their picture and when you are home you put it on the email and send it through, and you receive a cheerful response with a thank you hug.

I have basically made it a new hobby of mine. The best people to talk to are Americans, they just love being spoken to! And they are worldy, too - they don't mind getting personal. British are the worst - they are too uptight , and their sense of personal space is very rigid - unless they are drunk. Or drinking right there, with you.

I think there is a special term for it in psychology, the concept of chronotope. Well, chronos is time, and tope is space, and it means something like when you are on a train in a car with other people in it. You are confined for the space, and you are there for the period of time, and so you talk to people. And you know that you can get frank as because you'll never see them again. So you tell them your secrets, feeling the comfort zone of the train chronotope, and then, feeling better, get off and forget all about it. Has it ever happened to you? It has to me, and it was remarkable.

I intend to get better, though. I am still somewhat of a conversational wizard, so I just need strangers to practise with. Oh bring it on!

Prohibition: They Bring Chicago Back

The pleasure of having your own blog is the opportunity to write smug things without the actual feeling of that smug-ness about myself. Oh well, let me be misunderstood. I would give a lot to feel smug all the time, damn, why do I usually fall out if this state and start remembering all those grandma’s lines about humility, humbleness and modesty? I wish.

Nevertheless, I feel I have been living in this town for long enough. I have had enough meals out to come to the realisation that anybody could have a favourite restaurant without the fear of being mistaken for a shallow - and gluttonous - person. So there - I have grown up enough to have a favourite restaurant.

I already have a favourite sushi shop (comes from my student days), a favourite barista (came from me becoming redundant)  - a fairly freckled young man, a single father, evenly covered with tattoos; and a favourite arcade of cafes (this credited to some friends - we have to catch upsomewhere). Now I feel grown up enough to say that there is a restaurant, too.

Now, me being me, I fell not so much for the food - I guess good food is essentially the same everywhere - I fell for the show. The theme is 1920s - oh, do I love themed places. No wonder my heart is in Vegas, still. The old Ford is parked outside, and there is an open bag full of American dollars. The bouncers, dressed in those hats with white ribbons, let you in.

Well, the weekend paper said the owners invested about $2m into it. Must be for immigration purposes, but nevertheless. I still think that figure must include the ownership of the building - I mean brick walls are not exactly that pricey - yet I was impressed. Green velvet table covers, low-hanging chandelliers above each table, heavy crockery and fancy cutlery - neat. I presume the furniture was custom-made, and so was the soundtrack (real gangster dialogues with a New Zealand accent, very sweet indeed). The logo is a sign of clubs on everything, from table napkins to toilet basins - tacky, yes, but unheard of, in the realms of Auckland.

The table next to us did not have their violin under the table, yet I wouldn’t be surprised if it was there. The lady wore gloves and hats, the gentlemen - black and white tap dance shoes. I felt so unprepared and underdressed, I feel almost obliged to go back there again now.

They could improve by giving things away - in Vegas they give you ashtrays with the restaurant logo, or freshly baked bread, or tiny goody bags. Here they could start with a pack of cards - that would be so appropriate.

The theory of hospitality goes that 1 out of 3 new places go bust in the first two years. Oh well, if this one survives (although money is probably no object there!), it might be very successful. I wish it would be.

Back to Basics


Time just flies, doesn't it? I suppose being busy is the bestest gift anybody can be given, by some divine power. I have certainly been lucky in this aspect recently. I came back to New Zealand, which is still the nicest country in the world - the more I travel, the more I get reassured so. I am trying to get back into the routine, yoga three times a week, followed by sushi and a half-shot flat white, then lazy weekends, then movie nights more than twice a week - I know I live a life of a Bambi deer, yet I like it. Job hunting (never finding!) is another routine, so I am back to monitoring those websites from the most visited bookmarks. Of course at times I have no reason to get out of the bed in the mornings, yet I always do, which I am somewhat proud of. I am also back to purposeless drives, short coffees with busy friends who cannot share the luxury of being unemployed and endless window shopping. Now you know how I live :) Oh well. It is good to back.


Lazy Sundays

One of the habits I have picked up over the past year of being a housewife is reading a weekend paper on Saturdays and Sundays. By the time I am usually up, the paper gets delivered to the door and all I have to do is to make myself a hot cup of earl gray tea (full cream milk, mad cats mug), sit down and realise that the weekend is just about to begin.

I start with the thin glossy Canvas magazine (apparently, Qantas airlines award for the best newspaper mag), which is about everything and nothing. It has brain teasers (I am ashamed to admit, I like them), botox specials around town (also, very ashamed to be looking at them), and about 40-odd pages of articles on various topics. Occasionally, it is politics, often it is going green, every now and then there are “intellectual” celebrities and arty interviews.

The notorious Shoe Of The Week section always features some high-end fashion pair at a thousand dollars or so. There was a huge debate recently, with people writing angry letters to the editor, mentioning recession and quoting rocketing grocery prices. Back off, - the editor responded, - art is art, and there is no price tag on it. Price tag or not, they could be picking prettier shoes more often.

Anyway, the start of last weekend was marked with an article about China. I know that everything is about China these days, and the further we go, the more humongous it becomes, yet that one caught my attention. The one-child policy is having a hiccup, and things are getting more and more out of control.  Kids are lottery whether it is one of six of them, yet the risk is higher if you only get one chance of making your point in this world. So the parents - the middle of the road Chinese citizens - are placing their bets on the one and only precious thing they have - their child. Mothers carry their child’s backpack around; couples forgo lunch so their child can have plentiful snacks or new Nikes.

Of course there is a price tag. For the pleasure of being the only child and not having to share anything, the child gets the obligation to support the parents when they are old. In order to provide good support, you have to do well at school. And what is the best way to get good marks? That’s right, study more. So this is exactly what they do - they study. Often a kid comes home from school in the afternoon, has a bite to eat, and goes straight to doing his homework - in some cases, they do it till the bedtime. Everyday. They. Study. For. Like. Ten. Hours. A Day. At one top Beijing kindergarten, students must know pi to 100 digits by the age of 3.

Mad, mad Chinese! Of course, when you study for ten hours a day from 1988 till 2001, you’d have exorbitant expectations about your future, your job and your pay check. But alas - there is the reality check. Not only is China not providing enough job opportunities, it is also that everybody is just as good. Tough competition for a very limited number of applicants. So they might find it hard to adapt to blue-collar jobs and less nicer lifestyle than their parents have been setting them on to.

Which just repeats my views on participating at all those crazy shows like Fear Factor and Survivor. It is OK to do it if you win - but boy, it sucks to lose. So it is OK for a parent to give everything up for a child, as long as the child pays you back. But all those years of sacrifice for possibly nothing - God forbid.

PS - I am going away for the month of August, I have already recorded a new voice mail message and learn the guidebook by heart. Europe, Europe, there I come! I haven’t been before, so, just as those Chinese kids, I have very high expectations :)  Please wait for me, as I shall be back. Podcasts on eugenia.co.nz in September, a gorgeous black-and-white photo session with me barely clad and much more to come. Buen viaje, ciao and au revoir, mon cher amis.

Yours truly,

Eugenia.